Most of us can’t imagine how frightening it must be for a child entering the foster care system. For siblings, this trauma is further deepened if they are separated from each other. The sibling relationship is usually strong, but siblings who come from hard places often have a deeper bond. Many times, those siblings have only had each other to rely on for physical and emotional support.
Siblings who are placed into foster homes together often settle quicker, as with the support of their brothers or sisters they tend to adjust to the situation more easily. Studies have also shown that siblings who are kept together go on to achieve much better grades at school. This is likely linked to the factor above. A child struggling to adjust to their new situation is going to be a lot less likely to succeed academically.
The biggest benefit of keeping siblings together is that it significantly boosts their emotional wellbeing. (info from pathwaycare.com )
Although many foster homes are unable to care for sibling groups, at Coyote Hill it’s one of the things we do best, thanks to your continued support! In fact, since our inception in 1991, 80% of the 470 children placed in our care were here with siblings.
For various reasons, sibling placements don’t always happen at the same time. We may get one or two children, and then a few weeks later another child will be placed with us. This was the case with a sibling group of four children who began being placed at Coyote Hill over a year ago.
First, two of the four siblings were placed here together. Eleven months later, Charles* arrived, with what seemed like a rough past on paper, but reuniting these siblings was our goal, so we looked past the troubling reports.
He’s proving his past paperwork wrong.
Charles’ Home Parent Dad loves to brag on him. Charles has done things like offering to help cook supper or do another child’s chores for them when they’re sick – all on his own with no prompting. This helpful attitude is very different than we expected after reviewing his history. It’s amazing what a loving, stable home life and having your sibling with you can do for a child.
It took awhile, but recently, the last child of that group of four siblings was placed with us. Up to this point, the four have had very little opportunity to be all together. All were excited, and one who isn’t an emotional, expressive child made a point of telling staff members, “Thank you so much for bringing her here!”
Their Home Parent Mom concludes, “I just love seeing siblings reunited. I also love that it is a huge part of the ministry of Coyote Hill.”
*name changed for sake of confidentiality
For more sibling reunification stories, check out our blog post, “Look What I Got!”